Spanish teen Carlos Alcarez has ousted No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to become the youngest man to beat a top-three player at the U.S. Open since ATP rankings were first kept in 1973.
Catching the 23-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas on an off day, 18 year old Alcaraz Carlos has scored one of the biggest upsets in recent men’s tennis memory, defeating world number 3 Tsitsipas in 5th-set tiebreak to reach the 4th Round of the US Open Tennis Championships.
Alcaraz produced a remarkably composed performance to upset Tsitsipas and electrify the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, who thoroughly embraced the 18-year-old during the five-set thriller.
Alcaraz let slip a set and a break lead to fall behind 5-2 in the third, only to wrest back control.
Tsitsipas stormed through the fourth set to again look the more likely, but Alcaraz executed both his drop shot and powerful forehand to perfection to close out a 6-3 4-6 7-6(2) 0-6 7-6(5) on his third match point.
Tsitsipas has been unable to progress beyond the third round in four visits to Flushing Meadows.
Alcaraz becomes the youngest man in Grand Slam 4R since then 17 year old Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev, at 1992 Roland Garros and the youngest man to reached the US Open fourth round since Michael Chang (17) and Pete Sampras (18) in 1989.
Alcaraz wasn’t Tsitsipas’s only foe – in fact the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium was seemingly also against him.
The defeat represents a dramatic reversal of fortune for Tsitsipas who has developed a wide fan following for his video blogs about his experiences and perceptions.
But in recent months, Tsitsipas has drawn increasing criticism for being at the centre a controvery dubbed as ‘potty-gate’, leaving the court at critical junctures in his matched to take what some deem to be overly long, yet permissible bathroom breaks.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray took to social media, called it “rubbish” after Tsitsipas did this during their first-round match on Monday.
After being booed by U.S. Open spectators on Wednesday when he took another long break during his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino, Tsitipas was once again booed with abandon by the crowd during Friday’s match against Alcaraz when he firstly called for the trainer early in the proceedings to evaluate his feet, then changed his socks and shoes.
The dissonance amongst the crowd gained steam when Tsitsipas, his clothes drenched in sweat, headed off court for a bathroom break, all the while being booed mercilessly.
“Look, I’m not pretending that everyone loves me … My intentions are not to be loved by everyone,” Tsitipas said afterwards when asked how he interpreted the boos, acknowledging that he was surprised by the intensity but adding that “it doesn’t matter.”
Fans, however remained loyal and sympathetic to Tsitipas, who, when questioned about his second advantageously timed bathroom break in as many matches by reporters in a news conference on Monday after his four-set victory, pointed out that he had” broken no rule.”
As pointed out by The Washington Post, liberal interpretation of the rule on bathroom breaks — or “comfort breaks,” as traditionalists refer to them — is nothing new in tennis.
“The Grand Slam rule book allows them: two during best-of-five-set men’s matches; one for women’s best-of-three set matches. Disputes arise from time to time because the rule specifies no time limit and thus can be exploited for tactical gain — whether to halt an opponent’s momentum, collect their thoughts or, more nefariously, flout the ban on in-match coaching by reading text messages behind closed doors.”
Tsitsipas also explained the tactical advantage of an empty bladder, saying:
“You carry less weight on you with all the sweat.”
“You feel rejuvenated, you feel fresh, and you don’t have all the sweat bothering you and coming in your face, on your fingers, everywhere all over your body. It makes you feel better.”